24 Learning

24 Learning

Sunday, August 14, 2011

EasiYo cooking video competition

A group of our Year 7 and 8 students entered the EasiYo Cooking Video competition. We would love your vote. The competition winner will be judged by online votes so the more the merrier.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Long time no post

I feel a little guilty about not having posted anything for such a long time and now this post is asking for your help. Freeville School is in the final 20 to win a $50,000 or $10,000 prize from The Palms shopping centre. This is one way you could help us for only a few mouse clicks. If you feel able to support Freeville School we would really appreciate it. All you have to do is follow this link and place your vote for Freeville.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freeville Room 5

What a fantastic effort from Room 5 at Freeville School. These children should be very proud to be finalists in the tvnz6netguide awards

Monday, August 23, 2010

Freedom Writers

As you can see I am trolling around the net for writing ideas. Someone loaned me a copy of Freedom Writers the other day. Very inspirational story. Great to think that a teacher could be so inspiring and the sense of hope that Erin Gruell allowed to grow in her class was impressive. The positive I took away from watching the video was the sense of purpose that she was able to inspire. I may just be getting old but I also found it a little bit disturbing that it was conveyed as a noble thing that she worked three jobs to pay for resources, and that her marriage collapsed because she spent all her time working. I haven't read the book and I know nothing more of the truth of her story than from watching the movie but...... ???? It just raised a few questions for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Writing Inspiration

I've been browsing the net for resources to inspire our staff to be teaching writing in creative ways.

Here are a few links I thought worth sharing around.

Imagination Prompt Generator
The page is full of adverts but the ideas from the prompt generator are actually quite cool.

Writing Prompt Generator
A great little generator. Well worth a look.

31 ways to find inspiration for your writing
The main site this link is from is aimed at adult writers but the link is to quite a good list.

Ambleside Primary Crazy Story Machine


Scholastic Inspire Young Writers

2 Writing Teachers blog

I'm sure there are a million more great sites. Leave a comment with your best picks (although do understand that I will vet them and not publish any I consider rubbish or too full of advertising)

Monday, June 28, 2010

I found a poem written years ago

sticky out bits

Thought I might just share this little poem I wrote a very long time ago. (In case you need a prompt count the letters in each line.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My apologies for being ethno centric

Over the last few months I have been getting a number of comments on this blog in Chinese. I have just been rejecting these outright because I had no idea what they said. This morning it occurred to me to drop the latest into a translator.


Thanks you to write down your life, also is comes the treasure the regard which and the gentlemen shares

So...... I thank you too for taking the time to thank me. I don't hold myself in much regard so it is disconcerting to think that someone in China thinks my sharing is a treasure. (At least that is what I'm taking from the translation.) If I have completely misunderstood the message feel free to enlighten me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

National Standards misleading comments

I'm not a political animal and I really do like my job thank you John but I just have to vent my frustration at the reporting of the national standards issue in the press. Today's Christchurch Press has a photo of John Key and Anne Tolley opening a new school under the banner Key prefers to 'work with' rebel schools

The first sentence says

Schools rebelling against the new national standards will have to explain to parents why they are prepared to allow children to leave school without adequate literacy and numeracy skills.

Now really! (if this is actually what you said John) This is just such political emotive nonsense. Schools already have many systems in place for identifying and communicating student achievement. The emotive suggestions that we need national standards to help us identify the underachievement are just patently wrong. Key's statement also suggests that schools are doing nothing about inadequate literacy and numeracy. Again... wrong wrong wrong. Schools work tirelessly and teachers care passionately about raising achievement. There is also an implied suggestion that we need the standards to identify schools that are failing. No. We have a school review process for that through the education review office. But it has just occurred to me that maybe with the cuts to the education budget this might be the new strategy. Scrap the Education Review Office (ERO) and just let schools be judged through published league tables of academic achievement. Lots of money will be saved. Great idea.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Learning Team 4 Blog


After ignoring this for a long time I am making an attempt to get our team blog up and running again. I've passed the management over to a couple of really capable team members so hopefully they will get some good things up there. The first story from Tenira is great.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is this the end or only the beginning?

Two days into the holiday and already I am thinking about 2010. Sad I know. I will wind down eventually and I have planned 3 weeks away with no computer.

I have taken on school wide responsibility for professional development in writing for 2010. I've done the usual trawl of google for creative and inspirational ideas and gathered a few good looking links in my delicious account. But I thought I would put it out there to the two of you :) who read this blog. If you have any brilliant suggestions for writing professional development that I could look into for 2010 I would love to hear from you.

Have a brilliant holiday and Christmas. Relax, enjoy your family, do things you love doing but usually don't have time for. May 2010 be the best year ever!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Prompted to write about league tables and standards

Phew! It has been a really long time since I felt the urge to write anything here. Probably I have no one reading this anymore but if perchance I do then here is my little rant.

I was prompted to write after reading Greg's comments about MOE people reading his blog and asking him to correct material on it. He rightly pointed out that he was writing his own opinion and that should be respected. At the end of his post he says to be aware that MOE people are reading blogs to gauge opinion and that we should not be put off from sharing our thoughts.

So.... Here goes. If you are reading this from the MOE and want to comment then by all means do so and thereby add to the debate. Or even better go and comment on Greg's blog, cause a whole lot more people read that.

Tell me one good reason why we should be comparing schools in the manner that league tables will. I want to know two significant things when it comes to achievement data. I want to know where the child is at when they arrive (either to me as a teacher or to us as a school) and I want to know have I made a difference. (yeah yeah, I do want to know other things like next steps for learning and all that other stuff but basically I want to know am I making a difference). If I'm not helping the child improve in reading then I need to know that. If we as a school are not helping the children move numeracy stages then we need to know that, so we can do something about it. Who benefits from a league table comparison of our school to the one down the road? Or the one at the other end of the country? The argument that the MOE need this data to judge whether schools are failing just doesn't wash. They have ERO for that. If we have national standards and compulsory reporting of these will we no longer need ERO reviews?
The negative effects of league tables far outweigh any benefits.
Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not actually against plain language reporting to parents nor am I against having a standard to make comparisons against. Exemplars can be a really useful tool to use with the children to show them how their writing could be improved. As a parent I want to know whether my child is doing ok? As well as expected? Are they a genius (having inherited their mother's genes) or do they desperately need some more help. I want to know all this and it is quite reasonable to expect that we should be giving that information to parents in simple language they can understand. Learning stories are great (we use them a lot at our school and love them) but not really helpful if at the end of it I still have to ask "So are they doing ok?"
A big bug bear I have about this whole process is the sham that has been called consultation. If this is really important would it not have been significantly more productive to work with teachers and principals and get the sort of input and consultation that has happened with the new curriculum. I was offended to read in the paper in the first weekend of the school holidays an "announcement" from the ministry about new reporting formats that we will have to adopt for 2010??? Come on people. This is really unreasonable. Now perhaps this is just media hype and actually the MOE are not going to ask us at the end of October to have new reporting formats and documents for 2010. But hey! We live in interesting times.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Alfie Kohn and National Testing

I've just bought this book by Alfie Kohn

I haven't finished it yet but it is giving me a lot to think about in light of the current discussion in NZ about national education standards.

Actually I was prompted to post something here because I read Graham Wegner's blog and his latest comment is about the death of blogging.

Sorry. Back to Alfie Kohn. Wouldn't it be great to get someone like this out to NZ to speak the Minister of Education.

It's the school holidays here in New Zealand so apart from sleeping and catching up on unfinished school work I am managing to also do some reading. Quite fun really when you get the time. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

More from Sir Ken Robinson

This is from a talk he gave to the RSA about his new book "The Element". It is 40 minutes but well worth the time.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sir Ken Robinson


This man is a legend.

Sorry the above link seems to have disappeared. If you haven't listened to Sir Ken speak browse Youtube and pick up on some of his presentations. He is fantastic to listen to.

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Population


It is Canterbury Show Day today and I am sitting with my girls browsing the net and having fun asking questions of Ms Dewey. We came across the link above which is a counter of world population. It allows you to pick a date back to 1970 and compare population then and now. You can also project into the future and see what the population will be up to 2037. This could be worth sharing as a discussion starter for my class. If I team this up with The Story of Stuff the discussion could get really interesting. I'm going to try it out.

Four day working weeks are great! Maybe the new government would consider this as a new policy?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Following on from ULearn08

I've just been reading some of the things I picked up at ULearn.

The Periodoc Table of Videos is a brilliant set of youtube videos from the University of Nottingham. Click on each element and you get a short video explaining the element. Just great.

Tutpup is another site worth checking out. This is basic maths facts and spelling where you login and compete against others from around the world. It is a bit like Mathletics and Spellodrome except it is free. That always attracts me. :)

I have also been playing with Marvin. This looks like it could be quite fun. The thing I really want out of any of these animation software programs is the ability to create characters. I haven't yet found one that will easily allow that. Marvin is pretty cool though and pretty easy to use. It has a few bugs that annoy me. I couldn't get it to export the sound with the animation when I created a video.

Another cool looking gizmo that I think we will buy is this mp3 recorder. It has a built in rechargeable battery and you can listen to what you have recorded on the unit before you save it to your computer to manipulate in audacity or upload to a podcast.

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach was one of the keynote speakers at ULearn08. She very generously makes all of her resources available for free on her wiki here. There are a whole lot of great resources here worth looking at.

Robomind is a great looking online intro to programming. I'd really like to get some lego robot kits but this might be a good starting point.

Another great resource gathered at ULearn was the Interface Magazine.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I've been at Ulearn08 this week and it has been a great time. Tiring but enthusing. Three standouts for me.

Tony Ryan - This man is an absolute legend. What a delight to listen to him. It is so good to be reminded about the importance of being transformational in our teaching. This wasn't a presentation of "how to teach" rather a challenge about "how to be". It was worth the conference fee (not that I paid it personally mind you) just to hear him speak. He talked about teachers needing to be Energisers, Ethicists, Entrepreneurs and Environmentalists. Great to be reminded that teaching is a mirror. Your attitude is reflected back to you. I know this is true when I feel frustrated and that is reflected back at me from the children. I hadn't really thought about the opposite being true that when I am on top of it that gets reflected back in improved attitude from the children. So many challenges in this presentation that I will be mulling it over for awhile.

Webspiration - This is a beta test of an online version of the classic brainstorming software. It just looks brilliant. I sat and created a brainstorm and then collaborated with someone else all within the time of half a keynote speech (woops did I confess to that). If this remains free and online I don't see how they will keep selling the full product? Maybe the full version offers extra features. I'm sure it will. Very nice to see this online though. It is better than some of the alternatives I have played with like bubbl.us or mindmeister.

Finally. I am so proud of the children from LT4 who came and presented some of the things they have been learning. They were just great and I was very proud of them. If you happened to be in the session... Thank you. Some of the things we showcased are available here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Education Policies

This is a cool tool. We have been forming political parties in our class and the children have been writing policies. Wordle creates a word cloud from any pasted text or you can just drop in a URL and it will go get the text for you. The more frequently a word appears in the text the larger it is on the cloud. In playing around with it I have dropped in the Labour party education policy and the National party statement on National standards. I would have preferred to compare two policies but it seems National have not released their policy yet. It isn't hard to see which is which. I'm going to get the class to do this with their own policies. Makes for an interesting comparison.

Try it out with your school website or your own blog and see what your text looks like.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Go animate

This is a great web tool for creating animations. Very simple to learn. I hope school's bandwidth can cope cause I want to use this on Monday! Fantastic!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just the coolest thing

This is a link to a Transit NZ website that has video of NZ Highways. Sort of like Google streetview. Very cool.